Caroline + Chaz love picnics and couldn’t think of a better way to spend time with their nearest and dearest than by recreating the summer activity. It was especially appropriate (and downright sweet) for Caroline, whose grandmother was a quilting pro and even had one of her creations presented to Eleanor Roosevelt! We are absolutely in love with the laid back atmosphere, delicious boxed meals and adorable lawn signs reserving quilts for the Mr. and Mrs. After enjoying the dining experience on the lawn, guests partied the night away (yes, even with a special playing of “Call Me Maybe”) until the newlyweds made their getaway in Caroline’s dad’s antique Porsche.
Did you have a cocktail hour? Right after the ceremony, Chaz and I went to take some sunset pictures, which we LOVE, while everyone else went to cocktail hour. We served some Southern classics: spiked Arnold Palmers, mini cucumber sandwiches, mini pimento cheese sandwiches, and mini BLT’s. Maybe one of our favorite parts of the whole day was that during the beginning of cocktail hour we got to eat dinner, just the two of us. Our planner had set up a table in a building adjacent to the Plantation Home where cocktail hour was taking place. We got the opportunity to talk about the wedding ceremony and everything that had happened that day. It was wonderful to get to spend time just the two of us, and I would highly recommend it to any couple!
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We really wanted something casual, Southern, and fun. We actually had never seen a picnic reception before, so this idea shockingly wasn’t from Pinterest. Boxed dinners were cheaper than a seated, plated meal, so everything worked out perfectly! We did provide enough tables for everyone in case people weren’t comfortable on quilts, but we were so glad that, although untraditional, most people joined in!
The one aspect of our wedding that we’ve never seen anyone else do was the picnic reception. It was exactly what we wanted: delicious, casual, and budget-friendly! It was also very special to me because my grandmother on my dad’s side was a quilting pro! She worked on a quilt with some women in Kentucky that won the 1933 World’s Fair Sears Quilt contest. The quilt was sent to the White House and presented to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to keep, and there is now no record of it. Before she died, she recreated the quilt and we are so proud to have it in our possession. The quilts on the grounds of Carnton reminded me so much of her!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. While our first dance didn’t go at all how I had planned, it was definitely the most hilarious moment of our wedding. We told the DJ, who was wonderful in every other aspect, that we wanted to dance to “At Last” by Etta James. When we got out to the dance floor for our first dance, this crazy version of “At Last” starts playing. It’s not even Etta James, it’s some horrible live version. I think Chaz realized that I was horrified, so he made it his ultimate goal to make me laugh. We were cracking up our entire first dance. It wasn’t the moment I was expecting to create, but it is definitely a fun and memorable one!
What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? For dinner, we decided to have a picnic. All throughout the grounds were quilts that my mom and our families collected from friends, laid out for people to picnic on. We had boxed dinners that were delicious! They had gourmet fried chicken, grilled veggies, a tri-bean salad, potato salad, and a fruit skewer. To drink, we offered fruit tea, a Nashville favorite, sweet tea, water and then a Nashville beer called Yazoo Pale Ale. Maybe the most Southern thing at our entire wedding was the biscuit bar. Our caterer made so many delicious mini biscuits: buttermilk biscuits, cheddar biscuits, herb biscuits, and sweet potato biscuits. She also brought tons of different toppings: fresh creamery butter, honey butter, apple butter, strawberry preserves, apricot preserves, and raspberry jam.
Describe your wedding cake: Our cake was alternating layers of a very light lemon and amaretto Italian wedding cake. It was out of this world. When you cut into the cake, it made yellow and white stripes, just like everything else at our wedding! We wanted to have a special “cake” for Chaz because his birthday was the day before our wedding. He decided on another Southern classic: banana pudding. We put all of the little individual banana puddings in my grandmother’s old pie safe. My loving parents lugged it all the way to the plantation just for this moment. I loved it because it felt like my grandmother got to be there. And it was adorable!
Describe your centerpieces: The quilts didn’t require any centerpieces, they were beautiful on their own! Each table had an ivory linen and a burlap square on top. Most of them had antique books that were both in our color scheme and whose titles were about love. We also included blue mason jars with flowers, and milk glass with flowers. Some tables just had these huge apothecary jars full of lemons and then a ribbon tied around them with a label that I designed that said, “Chaz and Caroline, June 16, 2012.”
What were some of the highlights? Chaz and I love nothing more than dancing with friends, and it was so much more fun dancing at our own wedding. I specifically remember watching Chaz dance his heart out to the songs “Scrub the Ground” while getting lower than I’ve ever seen him go before. I also requested some songs for particular friends, like this summer’s classic “Call Me Maybe” for one of my best friends, Vasilisa. One thing that we did differently than most is we had a last dance. Since we were going to Mexico for our honeymoon and we love the band Jump Little Children, our last dance was called “Mexico.” All the couples got to join us on the dance floor to close it off right before our final send off.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? The picnic idea was both new and untraditional. So was the biscuit bar and the banana pudding.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I tossed the bouquet, but after talking about it, both of us weren’t looking forward to the awkward “finding of the garter” (where did this tradition come from?!), so we decided to skip it.
Tell us about your grand exit. Our exit was SO fun! We started at the front of the house and walked amidst trees and people lining the walkway all the way to my dad’s antique Porsche. It’s always been my dream to drive away in his Porsche that we rode in as kids. I’m glad Chaz could drive it (this stick shift in particular is near impossible to navigate) because he worked for years in high school as a valet.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? My parents were really generous to us with the wedding. They gave us a budget, and said that if we wanted to spend less than that, we could save the rest. Since we’re currently paying for Chaz’s medical school (not a cheap route), we tried to cut as many corners as we could. While this was probably the biggest challenge we faced, it was almost like a game. We continually checked to make sure that we couldn’t shave off any money anywhere. I am glad that even though we were very budget-conscious, we made sure to include all of the things that were important to us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? It’s been a huge time of transition for us. I just graduated from college, we got married, and then we headed to Savannah for Chaz’s medical school rotations. We have a lot to look forward to both individually and as a couple. I just started a new job at Southpoint Media, a web design and development firm here in Savannah. I’m also starting a new paper line for invitations and stationary, Caroline Fausel Paperie, while also free-lancing as a graphic designer and continuing my music career in Savannah. Chaz had really enjoyed his rotations so far and is looking forward to graduating medical school soon. We’re excited to see where Chaz’s residency program takes us, and are hoping to get the opportunity to explore a new city in the Southeast.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Pick the top things that are important to you about your wedding day. Plan your budget around those things. The most important aspect about the planning is attitude. We kept saying to ourselves and each other, “If at the end of the day I’m married to you, I’m happy.” In the end it’s not the small details that matter, but the fact that you’re getting married!